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Kingdom 1815 to 1918

An independent Monarchy 1815-1871

The Congress of Vienna in 1815 aims to restore the old political order and the power structures in Europe are changed. Saxony loses two-thirds of its territory, and a third of its population to Prussia. A nationalist movement develops in the many individual German states, culminating in the March Revolution of 1848. The Saxon king, however, rejects the Constitution of St. Paul’s Church (put forward by the German parliament, meeting in this Frankfurt church), which envisaged a federal state with a central government and parliament headed by a hereditary emperor. Armed unrest follows and is bloodily suppressed, with Prussian help. In the nineteenth century, Saxony develops into a rapidly growing, productive industrial state and becomes the cradle of the German labour movement.

Saxon Monarchy in the German Empire 1871-1918

In 1871, Saxony becomes part of the newly established German Empire. The constitutional monarchy in Saxony continues to exist, but increasingly declines in importance. Saxony continues to develop its position as the leading German industrial state. During World War I, Saxony puts its own army in the field and loses more than a quarter of its soldiers. As part of the November Revolution, the 'United Revolutionary Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council' (Vereinigter Revolutionärer Arbeiter- und Soldatenrat) is established. On November 10, 1918, the Council dismisses the king and declares the monarchy defunct. Hermann Fleissner, speaking at the Sarrasani Circus, announces the establishment of the Republic of Saxony.

Key Events

1815 At the Congress of Vienna, Saxony loses two-thirds of its territories and a third of its population to Prussia, and joins the German Confederation.

October 19, 1817 Lausitz is incorporated into Saxony.

1818 The former episcopal territory of Wurzen is fully integrated into Saxony.

November 13, 1819 Despite the implementation of the decisions of Frankfurt under a conservative government, there is in practice no persecution of »demagogues«.

May 5, 1827 King Frederick Augustus I dies and is succeeded by his conservative brother Anton. (1827-1836).

June 25, 1830 Unrest breaks out among the protestant population against the catholic court during the 300th anniversary celebration of the Augsburg Confession.

September 18, 1830 Following unrest in Leipzig and Dresden, Frederick Augustus II is named Prince co-Regent. The conservative cabinet minister von Einsiedel resigns, and is succeeded by the liberal von Lindenau. He restores order through negotiations and the promise that a constitution will be drawn up.

September 4, 1831 One year later, the new liberal constitution comes into force, with Saxony under an undivided constitutional monarchy for the first time and with certain basic rights guaranteed. The Landtag is separated into two chambers and given the sole authority to pass laws. For the first time, a separation of power has become reality. At the same time (September 24) the census voting right is introduced.

December 1, 1831 The central authorities, the Secret Cabinet, Secret Council, Secret Finance Committee and state government (whose authorities overlap), are all replaced by six ministerial departments. Their ministers are appointed by the king, but accountable to the Landtag. There is also a Prime Minister, who coordinates the departments through a collective ministry.

December 9, 1832 After vassalage is abolished on April 1st in Upper Lausitz, basic legal parity is established with the Erblands (territories with hereditary monarchs).

January 1, 1834 The entry of Saxony to the German Customs Union (Deutscher Zollverein) agreed on march 18, 1833 takes effect, creating a common German economic area.

January 24, 1835 Complete parity of Upper Lausitz with the 'Erblands' is achieved, along with the abolition of their separate provincial constitution.

June 6, 1836 King Anton dies. He is succeeded by the Prince co-Regent, Frederick Augustus II, (1836-1854), who increasingly represents conservative views.

September 1843 The liberal cabinet minister von Lindenau is replaced by the conservative von Könneritz, who increases censorship. Poor harvests in 1845/6 and an economic crisis (1847) encourage the formation of radical groups.

1848/49 During the March Revolution of 1848, the Saxon King Frederick Augustus II initially concedes to demands for democracy. However, after rejection of the Constitution of St Paul’s Church and the dissolution of the Landtag by the king, armed unrest follows in May 1949, and is bloodily suppressed with the help of Prussian troops.

1854 King Frederick Augustus II dies in an accident in Tyrol. He is succeeded by his brother John (1854-1873).

In the nineteenth century, Saxony develops into a strongly industrial state, the most densely-populated area in Europe. The foundation of the German Workers' Association by Ferdinand Lasalle in 1863 makes Leipzig the cradle of the German labour movement.

1866 In the German War, Saxony fights on the side of Austria and loses. Afterwards, Saxony joins the North German Union.

1871 Saxony becomes part of the newly founded German Empire, and surrenders among other things its separate postal system.

March 26, 1872 Leading Social Democrats August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht are tried for high treason and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

April 15, 1873 A state consistory is created as the highest independent instance of the Lutheran Church. This act is the first step towards the separation of church and state, with the catholic church remaining under the rule of the state.

October 29, 1873 King John dies in Pillnitz. His successor is his oldest son Albert (1873-1902), who pursues closer contacts with Emperor William II of Germany and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, as well as with the leading Prussian statesmen Bismarck and von Moltke.

January 10, 1874/ 1877 Election of August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht and seven other Social Democrats to the German Reichstag.

1878 - September 30, 1890 Illegal activity of the SPD (Social Democrat Party) following the countrywide ban imposed by the Socialist Law (Sozialistengesetz).

October 1, 1879 The Imperial Court in Leipzig is made the supreme court for the whole of the German Empire.

1870-1900 Saxony continues to develop its position as the leading German industrial state. 58% of the population are employed in the industry (German average: 39%), 14% (25%) in trade and 15% (36%) in agriculture.

1891 Despite the census voting system, the Landtag elections result in a Social Democrat victory.

March 28, 1896 An general indirect three-class electoral system is introduced by way of the Landtag Election Law (Landtagswahlgesetz).

June 19, 1902 King Albert dies in Sybillenort/Silesia. He is succeeded by his brother George (1902-1904).

1903 Reichstag elections secure 22/23 seats for the Social Democrats.

October 15, 1904 King George dies in Pillnitz. He is succeeded by his son, Frederick Augustus III. (1904-1918).

January 25, 1909 A new voting law (May 5) replaces the three-class electoral system with an arrangement with multiple voting (max. 4 votes depending on education, wealth, and age).

October 18, 1913 The memorial to the Battle of Nations is unveiled in the presence of King Frederick Augustus III, the Russian Czar Nicholas II, and other monarchs.

August 1, 1914 The First World War begins, and the entire Saxon army of 750,000 men is sent into battle as the Third German Army under the command of Max von Hausen. (September 5-12, 1914). The consequences for Saxony: of the 750,000 soldiers, 210,000 are dead, and 19,000 are missing in action.

May 1, 1916 Peace demonstrations and strikes take place in Dresden, Leipzig and Pirna and later also in Chemnitz.

February 1918 Strikes are organised by the »Spartacus Group« throughout Germany since January, and spread to Dresden and Leipzig by February. King Frederick Augustus III argues for a negotiated peace, in conflict with the policy of the supreme command of the German Empire.

November 5, 1918 The Justice Minister Rudolf Heinze takes over the government after the resignation of all the state ministers (October 23-25). The following day, 3,000 soldiers in the Grossenhain airbase establish the first Saxon Soldiers’ Council (Soldatenrat) as an anti-war group.

November 8, 1918 Mass demonstrations in Dresden and elsewhere, with further workers’ and soldiers’ councils formed in Leipzig and Chemnitz. The next evening, demonstrators occupy the high command of the army, the police headquarters and the government buildings. The king flees to Moritzburg Castle after the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council - consisting of independent SPD and Spartacus Group - takes power.

November 10, 1918 The newly formed United Revolutionary Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council declares that the king has been deposed and the monarchy abolished. Hermann Fleissner (SPD), speaking at the Sarrasani Circus, announces the establishment of the Republic of Saxony.

November 13, 1918 King Frederick Augustus III formally abdicates at Guteborn Castle near Ruhland.



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